06.30.10

The Gates Foundation May Be Turning School Teachers Into State-funded PR Agents

Posted in America, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct link to deposition video | Full set of the deposition videos (including Ogg Theora versions)


Footage from the Gates deposition (quotes for humour’s purpose only)

Summary: Bill Gates’ indoctrination of children (PR) offloaded onto schools; Gates Foundation staff put in charge of school districts

AS longtime readers probably know, the Gates Foundation spends a lot of money on PR. Recently it has been hiring external PR agencies to polish Bill’s image [1, 2] and tell tall tales about him. For instance, rather than say how he really started in the business (breaking computers), the goal is to have articles like this one, rewriting history and glorifying a convicted monopolist. To quote from the start, they make it sound like a poor kid from a dorm rather than a very rich kid whose father claimed him to be extremely problematic/arrogant as a child (even weeks ago on television):

Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT) is one of the biggest corporate success stories in American history. From its humble beginnings in Bill Gates’ Harvard dorm room, in only 35 years the company grew to become one of the biggest companies in the world.

That’s not quite the story, but let’s carry on. AP has this new article about Gates’ more mature colleague at the time:

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen reportedly has paid $35 million for an eight-story office building in downtown Tempe, Ariz., creating a buzz in the city over what his real estate company will do with the vacant structure.

More in the WSJ:

Now that quest has yielded its first deal: Vulcan is paying $35 million in cash for an empty eight-story office building completed last year in downtown Tempe, Ariz.

It’s actually harder to find any wrongdoing which involves Allen (maybe except the sabotage of computers to buy computer time), but that’s because he left early, probably before Microsoft turned sour and decided to violate the law under Bill’s watch, with his endorsement.

“Waggener Edstrom is mentioned too (in other articles); it’s Microsoft PR department at the same time that it’s flirting with the Gates Foundation, so there is clear overlap.”Over the years it became hard to criticise these people because they bombard the media with self-congratulating coverage that omits the critiques. It’s as though time is supposed to heal the wounds and new generations of people (youngsters) are to be brainwashed and told a completely different story. This requires an enormous amount of discipline. Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s PR department, has been with Microsoft for decades. Pam Edstrom was the lady whose job was to merely change perception about Bill (a bit like carrying one’s golf club for a living) and here we have a new short report about new PR activities which are intended to promote the “Bill Gates” brand. Waggener Edstrom is mentioned too (in other articles); it’s Microsoft PR department at the same time that it’s flirting with the Gates Foundation, so there is clear overlap.

The decision comes after the Holmes Report exclusively revealed that the Gates Foundation was reviewing its PR activities last month. Weber Shandwick wins the business following a pitch that also included Waggener Edstrom and Hill & Knowlton.

We wrote about Weber Shandwick in [1, 2]. A lot of money is spent for these agencies to generate positive press coverage for Bill Gates and fellow investors (Warren Buffett for example), whose tax-exempt operation needs to be seen as worthy of those exemptions from the public. Their activities vary widely but also include tapping the minds of children. We wrote about this many times before because people occasionally complain about it. If the Gates Foundation is taking over public education in the United States [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], then it’s important to understand what agenda it promotes.

Here is a new speech from the Gates Foundation. They say about schools that “change is necessary.”

Today, I believe we’re on the cusp of dramatic changes to public education in this country. We, as a nation, are having some tough conversations, looking hard at what works and what hasn’t in our schools. Being clearer than ever before on what students need to succeed, and what is less central to success.

To many people those conversations are threatening, because change always causes uncertainty. But at the Gates Foundation, we think they’re vitally important, because more than ever, change is necessary.

This is part of a speech from the Gates Foundation’s Vicki Phillips, who is also mentioned in this new press release (additionally here):

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) — the independent organization that provides National Board Certification for U.S. teachers — today announced its participation in the Measures of Effective Teaching project, a national effort to help educators and policymakers identify and support good teaching. As part of its involvement, NBPTS will utilize its widely respected National Board Standards and assessment processes to confidentially evaluate videos of classroom instruction — one of six types of data being collected by researchers for the project. A $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund the NBPTS work.

[...]

“This partnership will enrich the data that are so essential to understanding what works in the classroom,” said Vicki L. Phillips, director of education, college-ready, at the Gates Foundation.

Why does the Gates Foundation get to decide what “good teaching” is? Why does it lobby “educators and policymakers”? Do public institutions like the Department of Education really need help from private bodies created by monopolists? Probably not, but they do this anyway.

Here is some more lobbying with money. A lot of money is typically spent brainwashing the young generation to love Gates and that whole mindset of patents/monopolies. It’s PR. By capturing schools Gates ensures public subsidy of this PR activity, where teachers are the equivalent of PR agents. We’ll give some new examples from last week, but examples we’ve accumulated generally span as much as a year. To Bill, it’s not just about technology anymore; how about Microsoft’s ‘Home of the future’ which made the news last week? How about Microsoft’s “School of the future”, whose correlation to Gates we explained last week? Here is another article from last week (at CNN):

The world was watching in 2006 when the Microsoft-designed School of the Future opened in Philadelphia and attempted to reform education.

Despite having four principals, curriculum overhauls, and student technology gaps, the school graduated its first senior class last week, with every graduate having plans for institutions of higher learning.

“This isn’t a school about technology, this is a school about redefining the norm for urban education,” said Mary Cullinane, director of innovation for Microsoft Education, who is also the liaison to the school.

Microsoft’s ‘School of the future’ was also covered by USA Today 11 days ago. It generally got almost a dozen articles in the past 2 weeks alone (and this did not originate from the big corporate press only, just seeded there). Why does a technology/marketing company suddenly decide that it’s in the school business? Is it experimenting with children? And if so, then as we asked last week, why not let BP control US universities and Walmart run the kindergarten system? This hopefully helps get across the absurdity of this.

This is where Gates comes in again. He pushes for a reform in schools and he gets his way by making conditional donations, whereby a school receives some funds only if it implements changes to fit Gates’ model. Last week someone posted the essay “Redesigning college, one course at a time”

The project, the Washington State Student Completion Initiative, will be supported by grants of $5.3 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and $800,000 from the Ford Foundation.

Yes, Ford too. Gates is not entirely unique here; there are others like Rockefeller, among other rich families whose investments pose a greater or lesser ethical dilemma.

Watch how the foundation of Bill Gates is using funds to ‘plant’ some staff and bring about the reform sought:

Among the Gates staff participating will be former state Secretary of Education Vicky Phillips, said Bartley.

There are many examples just like that (this just happens to be the latest); no panel involving education can carry on without some cronies who serve private interests. It’s not just Gates’ foundation by the way, but the Gates Foundation is probably more prominent among those who virtually privatise US education. Previous posts gave detailed listings of members of such panels. They are not just elected officials, appointed to represent the public who voted for them. This is a substantial threat to democracy.

An article which was perhaps withdrawn (“The article requested can not be found!”) was published last week under the headline “Gates Grant Boosts Teacher Recruiting”; The article said that “the district’s 7-year reform effort with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation drew them to Hillsborough like a magnet.”

For those who do not know, the Gates Foundation’s better-known experiment in a school district actually involves Hillsborough. We wrote about Hillsborough in:

Raytheon (Military Industrial Complex) actually collaborates with Gates in education:

Raytheon, which is based in Waltham, now commits 60 percent of its charitable giving to activities that boost math and science education, Swanson said. The company is working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to sponsor research on ways to increase the number of technically trained graduates. Raytheon engineers have developed a mathematical model to simulate the performance of the nation’s schools, in an effort to predict which reforms are most likely to succeed.

The supposition/assumption/hypothesis that there is lack of engineers is a load of lies; these lies were spread by Gates himself in order to justify bringing cheap labour from other countries. At the time, Gates was assisted by Jack Abramoff, the criminal lobbyist who has just been released from jail and now works at a pizzeria (the press is having a field day about it).

Here is the most shocking news that we found last week. Gates’ foundation is taking more positions of control in US education:

The Los Angeles Unified school board today could appoint a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation director as the district’s No. 2 man, possibly setting him up to succeed schools chief Ramon Cortines when his contract expires.

The board is scheduled to vote in closed session on the appointment of John Deasy, the deputy director of education at the Gates Foundation, where he has worked since 2008.

So a convicted monopolist is now put in the position of running entire school districts. More coverage of this can be found in:

  1. School reformer named to top LA district job
  2. New job for ex-Pr. Geo. schools’ chief
  3. L.A. school system poised to hire senior Gates Foundation official [Updated]
  4. Controversies Surround LAUSD’s New Hire John Deasy
  5. L.A. Unified hires Gates Foundation official as deputy superintendent

This smells a bit like corruption. Seriously, why not just put Microsoft in charge of school districts too? Separately we learn that there are protests following the LAUSD’s decision to lay off 2,500 people including teachers [1, 2, 3]. In summary, Gates is slated for more control in LAUSD while at the same time thousands lose their job due to the LAUSD’s decision. Didn’t the Gates Foundation advertise itself as a blessing to teacher recruitment? Maybe that was just PR or maybe it’s just not related at all. They know how to say what people want to hear (PR 101). Here is an article from 6 days ago:

MANVILLE: Dear Manville: ‘No’ … signed, Bill Gates

[...]

And, even though the foundation “regretfully” rejected Dr. Ruberto’s request, none other than Bill Gates himself wrote Dr. Ruberto to acknowledge the foundation’s decision. While the foundation’s mission includes “improving high school education in the United States,” according to its website, its focus has been on classroom and instruction programs.

Yes, of course. They also affect the curriculum. They can affect the material that gets pumped into millions of children’s minds for hundreds or thousands of hours each. That is some massive PR power. Pedagogues could learn a lesson from people like Rockefeller, who helped raise a generation of people (next generation) to be unaware of the ruthless past and just think of Rockefeller as this rich family that builds massive centres and funds programmes for the public.

One thing which we mentioned last week is the role of NASSCOM (which describes itself as “the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPO industries in India”) in promoting Microsoft Office in Indian NGOs. Last week it was also covered in the Times of India. Is NASSCOM an extension of Microsoft now? It has a similar effect on Indian education, so the public needs to reject NASSCOM. Here is some news about Microsoft pushing commercial propaganda into the classroom:

Free Office 2010 Classroom Posters Available from Microsoft

Schools interested in adopting Office 2010, can also grab no less than seven free posters from Microsoft, to display in classrooms. Microsoft Education teams in countries around the world can send the posters via snail mail to schools, provided that they are contacted to do so. In addition, the resources are also available for download, although not from an official Microsoft site.

Now they want Microsoft commercials right inside the classrooms. PR knows no bound. Speaking of which, Microsoft is refining the PR routines, based on this new report:

Today Microsoft Advertising and Mediabrands announced developments on the Media Operations Management System (M.O.M.S.), which is described as “an agency agnostic, enterprise-level architecture to connect the marketing ecosystem.”

The Gates Foundation is meanwhile commissioning more self-serving ‘studies’, proving that it’s lobbying, it’s not just a generous giver as PR wishes to portray:

A new study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — which has invested more than $150 million in New York City schools — suggests that the small schools have succeeded in boosting graduation rates for the city’s most academically challenged students.

These so-called ‘studies’ are then used by the Gates Foundation to lobby policymakers and change schools. Here is a new example from NYC [1, 2, 3]. The Gates Foundation creates models which it then assesses by paying someone from the outside; when it’s all shown to be working perfectly (according to the Gates Foundation itself), then it gets extrapolated and imposed with pressure from the Gates Foundation. We provided examples of this before. It’s all just done for influence. Think about Microsoft’s “School of the future”.

The American Thinker has a new article titled “Foundations Gone Wild”. To quote the ending:

Many of America’s current tribulations began as foundation do-gooder schemes. If you are exasperated with Windows’ poor security, switch to Apple. If Gates wants to undermine a school system with millions in “help” for his ill-conceived schemes, escape may be far costlier than a Mac. Free money can be expensive.

Fortunately, there is an increasing number of people who manage to understand these schemes and also write about them in respectable publications. Private interests rarely serve the public at large. But given a sufficiently large PR army, people can be led to believe otherwise.

As the Gates Foundation continues to commission self-serving ‘studies’, we are hopeful that people will see these for what they are. To quote another new press release:

“Computer and Internet access at public libraries connects millions of Americans to economic, educational, and social opportunity each year, but libraries struggle to replace aging computer workstations and provide the high-speed Internet connections patrons need,” said Jill Nishi, deputy director of U.S. Libraries at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “As demand for these services rise, public and private investment to support public access technology at libraries is more critical than ever.”

Conducted by the ALA and the Center for Library & Information Innovation at the University of Maryland, the study provides a “state of the library” report on the technology resources brokered by libraries and the funding that enables free public access to these resources. The study features the most current national and state data available on technology access and funding in U.S. public libraries.

The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the ALA, can be found online at www.ala.org/plinternetfunding.

Yes, this is yet another example where public library policy is being shaped by the Gates Foundation. Does the ALA really need help from the Gates Foundation? Can it not make its own mind? As we showed several times before, the Gates Foundation turns libraries against GNU/Linux:

As always, those who are still sceptical are encouraged to read the original articles for corroboration. There is overwhelming evidence piling up week after week.

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/06/30/school-districts-private-interests/

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